Brenham Office

979-530-8020

Houston Office

713-862-8110

Immigration

Houston Immigration Lawyers Help Clients Live the American Dream

Texas attorneys handle issues pertaining to green cards, visas and citizenship

People from all around the world dream of living in the United States, but the reality is that immigration rules here are complicated even under the best circumstances. Political considerations and shifting priorities mean that standards can change quickly and without warning. Anne E. Kennedy, Attorney at Law is a Texas firm dedicated to giving aspiring immigrants the opportunity to live where they wish. With offices in Houston and Brenham, we provide strong representation in matters involving visas, deportation defense, green cards, citizenship and other areas of U.S. immigration law. 

Skillful lawyers perform all types of immigration services

Immigration law is federal. Attorney Anne Kennedy has represented individuals and corporations from all over the world find solutions to immigration problems. Our firm has proven experience before the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, federal immigration courts, federal courts, and federal and state agencies. We advise clients on all types of immigration issues, including matters related to:

  • Marriage-based Green Card
  • Employment-based Green Card
  • Asylum
  • Investment Visas
  • Student Visa
  • Performer or Artist Visa
  • Religious Visas
  • Immigration Fraud Allegation Defense
  • Waivers
  • Deportation Defense
  • Immigration Bonds
  • I-601 Waiver Attorney
  • Green Card Lawyer
  • Inmigracion Abogado
  • Deportation Defense Attorney
  • Immigration Lawyer Houston Tx
  • Family Unity and Family Based Immigration
  • Removal / Deportation Defense
  • Employment Based Immigration
  • Habeas Corpus Relief
  • Bond Hearings
  • Employment Authorization / Work Permit
  • Waivers of Inadmissibility
  • Adjustment of Status
  • Entry Without Inspection
  • Naturalization / US Citizenship
  • Asylum
  • Labor Certification / Hiring Foreign Workers
  • Victims of Crime / Domestic Violence
  • Family Law and Immigration
  • Criminal Defense and Immigration

The facts of each case are different. We give our clients individual time and attention, helping to create a personalized plan and budget best suited to their particular case.

Frequently Asked Questions About U.S. Immigration

Please note that the below questions are frequent ones we have gotten in our immigration law practice. They are general statements and the facts of your situation may be different.

How does immigration generally work in the United States?

The United States of America has three branches of government: Legislative, Judicial, and Executive. The Legislative Branch (Congress) makes the laws. The Judicial Branch (Courts) interprets the law and resolves disputes or prosecutions under it. The Executive Branch headed by the President, enforces the law. Under the U.S. Constitution, most control over immigration rests in the Executive Branch. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, immigration has gotten stricter. It is now handled primarily by four agencies in the Executive Branch:

What do I need to come to the United States?

Generally, a foreigner needs: 1) a valid passport from their home country; and 2) a visa.

What is a visa?

A visa is a permit given by the U.S. government for a foreigner to enter the United States for a period of time. Usually, it is a stamp placed in your passport.

There are MANY different types of visas with different purposes and eligibility requirements, but generally they are divided into four main categories: Visitor, Student, Employment and (permanent) Immigrant.

The State Department’s website explains more about visas, but if you are seeking a visa for employment or immigration, you should consult an immigration attorney to help you. Incorrect or incomplete filings can mean LONG delays and costs or even denial.

Do I always need a visa?

No. There are 35 countries that are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. These countries are mainly the European Union, Australia, Singapore, and South Korea. However, this program is ONLY good for temporary travel less than 90 days and requires an electronic passport and requires advance permission.

Latin American countries are NOT included in it, so immigrants from there need to obtain a visa.

What happens if I entered without a visa or overstayed my visa?

You are in the United States ILLEGALLY.

You need to talk to an immigration attorney about your case. Immediately. visa overstays or illegal entries can subject you to removal proceedings from the United States and trigger bars of 3-10 years that prevent you from returning.

What is EWI?

EWI means “entered without inspection.” It means you entered without a visa and illegally and it can pose a barrier to your being able to stay in the country as described above.

What are my chances of deportation or removal?

If you are in the United States illegally, you are subject to removal at any time.

Removal starts most often with someone informing on you to the USCIS or in connection with a criminal matter or sometimes if you make a mistake when applying to stay in the United States. If this might apply to your situation, you need to talk to an attorney.

What happens if I am foreign and get arrested in the United States?

If you are an alien and arrested or under investigation by the police for ANY type of crime, you need an attorney immediately.

Criminal convictions have HUGE consequences in immigration law. There is no duty for the courts or your criminal attorney to inform you of them. You should not accept a plea deal until you have talked to a lawyer who knows BOTH immigration and criminal law.

What is removal?

A removal proceeding is a formal proceeding which the US government attempts to remove you from the country.

Removal proceedings are brought by the DHS in Immigration Court. The government will take you into custody and you will be presented with a formal charging document, called a Notice to Appear. You will be given a hearing, but if you are in removal, you NEED to consult and hire an attorney immediately to defend you.

If I am in removal, can I get a bond?

It depends. Typically, a bond is available, upon a hearing, if there is a viable way for you to stay in the country, legally, and if there is not any reason that would require you being mandatorily detained.

If you are in any kind of removal proceedings, you need an attorney, immediately.

I’m here illegally. What are my options?

Each case is different. However, with a good immigration attorney, there are some options and ability to .remain in the United States and become legal. Because each case is different, if you are illegal, you need to talk to an attorney immediately.

What is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of Status is the term for an alien moving from one class of alien to another. Most often it refers from someone moving from a non-immigrant (temporary visitor) or an immigrant (permanent) permission to be in the United States.

For example, someone who entered the United States legally, as a tourist or student, but met someone and fell in love and decided to get married to them and would like to stay permanently would seek to adjust their status from a non-immigrant to an immigrant.

You can read more about Adjustment of Status at the USCIS website.

What is a green card? / How do I get one?

A “green card” is a card that shows a person has adjusted their status to that of a lawful permanent resident in the US and is now entitled to live and work in the US permanently.

Obtaining a green card can be a difficult process and a long one. You should consult with an immigration attorney about your specific case.

Typically, however, most aliens adjust status to permanent residency through Family Based Immigration or Employment Based Immigration.

How does family based immigration work?

A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) / green-card holder can sponsor their immediate relatives. Immediate relatives are spouses, children and parents.

This is a complicated area of the law. The length and requirements of the process depend on the family connections and specific facts of each case. Spouses of U.S. citizens, for example, are usually adjusted faster than others because they are given first priority in processing applications.

Typically, the citizen or LPR, files an I-130 Petition with the U.S. Government requesting permission and a visa from them to bring a relative into the country. Once that is granted, the alien files an I-485 application to “adjust” their status to permanent immigrant.

The alien may also file other applications such as an I-765, requesting authorization to work or an I-131, requesting permission to travel during the adjustment process.

If you are seeking to adjust, it is wise to consult with an immigration attorney so that your specific case can be prepared and handled in the most efficient manner.

How does employment based immigration work?

Employment based immigration is also a complicated area of the law.

There are several classes of visas available to permit an alien to come to the United States to work on either a temporary or permanent basis.

If you are a U.S. company or individual interested in sponsoring an alien to come to the United States for work purposes, you may have to obtain certification by the Department of Labor that such a position could not be filled by a U.S. resident.

With unemployment and the economy in the state that it is, you should consult with an attorney to help you obtain this certification and make the process efficient.

How long will immigration take? / How much will it cost?

These questions are asked often, very important, but difficult to answer.

In reality, immigration can be a slow process- often taking years to complete from start to finish. The US government provides some insight as to general timelines, but there is a backlog for visas for non-spouses, for example.

Typically, one can expect a one-two year timeframe for uncomplicated marriage-based full adjustment (i.e., obtaining a green card). If there are complications or immigration is non-marriage based, the waiting is longer.

It is imperative that you seek good legal advice, because an incomplete application can mean that your place in line is lost and the wait turns into years, or worse, denial and having to start over.

Immigration costs can range. The USCIS sets fees, which do increase periodically. Check the USCIS website for the current fees.

If you are in need of immigration assistance, you should consult with an attorney who will work with you to help you find an appropriate budget and payment plan. Although the costs are not insignificant, the reward is a lifetime able to live and work in the United States with family and friends.

Contact a proven Houston immigration lawyer | Inmigracion Abogado en Estados Unidos

Anne E. Kennedy, Attorney at Law represents clients in Texas and from around the world in all types of immigration law latters. For a free consultation about your options, please call 713-862-8110 or contact us online. We have offices in The Heights section of Houston and in Brenham.


People from all around the world dream of living in the United States, but the reality is that immigration rules here are complicated even under the best circumstances. Political considerations and shifting priorities mean that standards can change quickly and without warning. Anne E. Kennedy, Attorney at Law is a Texas firm dedicated to giving aspiring immigrants the opportunity to live where they wish. With offices in Houston and Brenham, we provide strong representation in matters involving visas, deportation defense, green cards, citizenship and other areas of U.S. immigration law.  

Experienced advocates represent individuals threatened with deportation

Incorrect or incomplete filings with the immigration authorities can lead to long delays, unnecessary costs and even deportation. You can rely on us to handle a full range of immigration-related concerns, such as:

  • Green cards — If you seek lawful permanent resident status in this country, our firm helps you complete the necessary forms and guides you through the green card application process.
  • Naturalization — When someone is eligible to seek U.S. citizenship, we assist with each aspect of naturalization, including the collection of supporting documents, the civics test and interview.
  • Asylum and refugee status — A person who is facing persecution in their home country due to their ethnic background or political affiliation can apply for asylum if they are already in the United States, or refugee status if they have not arrived here yet. The rules on this protection have become more strict, so it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer if you or a loved one seeks a safe haven.
  • Family-sponsored immigration — Should you have a relative in another land who wants to move to the United States, we outline the requirements associated with family-sponsored immigration and assess how long the process might take based on the nature of your relationship and the country where they live.
  • Deportation defense — Once someone has received a Notice to Appear at a removal hearing due to an arrest, a documentation problem or some other reason, our accomplished attorneys take action to fight against government deportation efforts.

We are experienced legal advocates who possess a thorough understanding of the rules and procedures used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Whatever your particular goal might be, our firm will explain the relevant standards clearly and work tirelessly to secure a successful outcome.

Firm assists applicants seeking immigrant and nonimmigrant visas

A visa allows a foreign national to enter the United States for a specified purpose. People who wish to live in the United States permanently so they can work or reunite with a family member can apply for an immigrant visa. There also nonimmigrant visas issued for visitors who are coming to this country. Several types of these visas exist, including authorizations for students, tourists and individuals with a temporary work assignment. If you or someone close to you is preparing to enter the United States, we can explain exactly what type of visa is required and help you submit the required paperwork.

Attorneys advise detainees looking to obtain immigration bonds

Someone who has been detained by USCIS pending a removal proceeding usually can secure their release by posting an immigration bond. Also known as a surety bond, this commitment is a way for the government to help ensure that someone targeted for possible deportation reports for their hearing. By paying a small percentage of the amount, detainees can secure the bond and leave the detention facility. The remainder only has to be paid if the individual fails to show for their hearing. Our firm assists clients who are looking to obtain an immigration bond and return to their daily routine.

Contact a proven Houston immigration lawyer to schedule a free consultation

Anne E. Kennedy, Attorney at Law represents clients in Texas and from around the world in all types of immigration law matters. For a free consultation about your options, please call 713-862-8110 or contact us online. We have offices in The Heights section of Houston and in Brenham. 

Contact Us

!
!
!

Maps & Directions